Wow. What a championship game. Clemson overcomes the Alabama machine and wins their first title since 1981. Once again, this game proves that it's foolish to start tossing around the greatest-team-of-all time label before that last game is played. Alabama was looking to buck some historical trends. Very rarely does a team go from preseason number 1 and hold that ranking wire-to-wire. Very rarely does a true freshman quarterback lead his team to a national title. But late into the game it looked like it was going to happen.
When O.J. Howard broke free for the long touchdown in the 3rd quarter, it looked like it was going to be a repeat of last year's championship game. I think most everyone thought the Alabama defense had that game on lock when they were up by 10. Then the 4th quarter happened. More specifically, the last 5 minutes of the 4th quarter were crazy. Clemson had pulled within 3 after an early 4th quarter touchdown. Then they scored with 4:38 left to take a 4 point lead. In just 2-1/2 minutes, Alabama marched 68 yards to retake the lead on a 30 yd TD run by Jalen Hurts. He has been breaking off those long touchdown runs this year, even if he can't pass very well.
So Clemson has just a little bit over 2 minutes to drive for a tying field goal. Watching that last drive you are yelling, "What are you doing!?" They looked like they were in no hurry. They took 40 seconds between plays and looked content to try a long field goal to try to send the game to OT. Always a shaky proposition with college kickers. But then they completed a long pass and then got a PI in the end zone. That led to the 2 yard TD pass with 1 second to go and Clemson is the new champ. That last drive could have easily been a total disaster for Clemson and all people would be talking about is how horrible the management of that drive was. But it worked out and the king is finally dethroned. Will we get a rubber match next year? Bama will be in the mix because they always are. Who knows what we will get from Clemson. Deshaun Watson is likely gone to the draft and it is very difficult to replace arguably the best player in your program's history. Who knows. College football's interminable offseason is now upon us to ponder those questions.